Sustainable bioenergy for Southeast Asia

24 July 2014

Experts from ASEAN, China, the EU and international energy and agriculture agencies met in Bangkok to discuss how to pursue bioenergy development in the region.

Bioenergy technologies can transform rural development across Southeast Asia, helping to extend modern electricity and other energy services to deprived areas, as well as reduce carbon emissions and lessen the impact of climate change. But for the region to fulfil its bioenergy potential, countries must address a complex array of policy, technical, institutional and financial challenges, said experts at a workshop in Bangkok on 23-24 July 2014.

The workshop was the second in a series of events feeding into the upcoming IEA publication How2Guide for Bioenergy – a manual for policy and decision makers to develop and implement of bioenergy technology roadmaps tailored to existing national frameworks, resources and capacities.

More than 60 participants from seven Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, China, the European Union, and several international and regional organisations plus the IEA Bioenergy Implementing Agreement shared views on the region’s current landscape of policy frameworks and initiatives for bioenergy. The IEA co-hosted the event with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in collaboration with the Thai Ministry of Energy and with the support of Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).

Workshop participants addressed the drivers for bioenergy market development in the region and considered policy options for addressing barriers. Discussions highlighted the transformative potential of bioenergy in relation to rural development, climate mitigation and energy-access goals in the region, but also pointed to the complexity of the challenges to realising bioenergy’s potential. National roadmaps can play an important role, they discovered, particularly to integrate bioenergy resource assessments with considerations about the food security, water and land-use nexus. Resource assessments must be approached from the bottom up, as well as from the top down, experts in the sector said, while the agro-processing and forestry must be fully optimised.

Needs and gaps identified during the workshop, combined with case studies from the region, will be reflected in the How2Guide for Bioenergy. The book will also incorporate findings from other regions, including a previous workshop in Southern Africa and one planned for Latin America and the Caribbean. How2Guides, produced under the IEA International Low-Carbon Energy Technology Platform, aim to serve as manuals for the development of roadmaps and strategies for particular energy technologies and sectors at the national level.

To see the presentations at the workshop, please click here.

To read an IRENA announcement about the project, please click here.